Welcome to COVIDPlasma.org
This site is a resource to educate interested donors, the health care community and the public on the rapidly evolving therapy of COVID-19 convalescent plasma. This site is brought to you by AABB. AABB (formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks), is an international, not-for-profit association representing individuals and institutions involved in the fields of transfusion medicine and biotherapies. AABB’s community – comprising of blood centers, hospital blood collectors and transfusion services – is committed to advancing optimal donor safety and patient care.
If you have recovered from COVID-19, you may be able to help patients currently fighting the infection by donating your plasma. As a result of your infection, your plasma now contains COVID-19 antibodies, which is one way your immune system fought the virus when you were sick. Your plasma is now known as convalescent plasma.
Am I eligible to donate?
If you had COVID-19 and want to donate, you must be fully recovered to be eligible. To be eligible to donate, you should be symptom-free for 28 days. Some centers may be able to collect donors as recently as 14 days since their symptoms ended; if your center is collecting individuals in the 14-27 day timeframe after illness, you may also need to have a negative test result for COVID-19. You should talk to your local donation site about whether a negative test result is needed or not. You should also call your local AABB-accredited donation site to talk with them about your health history if you have questions. Please visit AABB’s blood donation finder to locate your local AABB-accredited blood donation site.
If you think you had COVID-19 but were never tested, you can still contact your local AABB-accredited donation site. Your blood donor center will be able to guide you through the process. It may be easier than you think!
To donate, you must feel healthy on the day of donation and meet some additional requirements. The minimum age to donate in most states is 16 or 17.
Where do I go to donate?
Many AABB-accredited blood donation sites are collecting COVID-19 convalescent plasma.
Find your nearest blood donation site and contact them.
I have not had COVID-19. What can I do to help?
You can consider donating blood! One blood donation can save up to three lives. Blood is needed every day to provide lifesaving treatments to a variety of patients. You can help ensure that blood continues to be available for patients by finding a blood donor center near you to schedule your donation.
What is Convalescent Plasma?
When a person contracts a virus like COVID-19, their immune system creates antibodies to fight the virus. These antibodies are found in plasma, which is the liquid part of blood. Plasma with these infection-fighting antibodies is called “convalescent plasma.” Through a blood donation process, this antibody-rich plasma can be collected from a recovered person, then transfused to a sick patient who is still fighting the virus. This provides a boost to the immune system of the sick patient and may help speed the recovery process.
Convalescent plasma for COVID-19
The FDA is permitting the use of convalescent plasma as an investigational treatment for patients with moderate or severe COVID-19 infection. It is considered an investigational treatment because clinical studies have started but have not yet been completed. We know there is evidence that convalescent plasma has helped patients with other illnesses, but doctors and researchers will not know how effective convalescent plasma will be in treating COVID-19 patients until more studies are completed.
While additional treatment options are evolving, convalescent plasma can be considered and may help some moderately or severely ill patients. The idea to use this treatment for the new coronavirus was suggested by Arturo Casadevall, MD, PhD, from Johns Hopkins University; and Liise-anne Pirofski, MD, from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
A long history of therapy
The collection and transfusion of convalescent plasma as a treatment was first used in the 1890s and helped reduce the severity of a number of infectious disease outbreaks prior to the development of antimicrobial therapy in the 1940s.
In the early 20th century, convalescent plasma treatment was used during outbreaks of various infectious diseases, including measles, mumps and influenza. More recently, it was used during the H1N1 influenza pandemic in 2009, and again in 2013 during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
1) Recovered COVID-19 patient donates plasma
2) Plasma is tested.
3) Plasma is stored and transported to hospital
4) Patient treated with plasma
5) Therapy is complete.
6) Recovered patient may become future donor.
Donating COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma: FAQs
I did not get tested for COVID-19 but had symptoms consistent with the virus. Can I still donate?
- Maybe! If you did have the virus, your blood will have COVID-19 antibodies. Your local blood center may be able to direct you on how to obtain an antibody test to confirm your infection with COVID-19. And even if the antibodies are not present, you can still donate blood or other components.
Where can I donate?
- Find your nearest AABB-accredited blood donation site and contact them to find out if they are currently collecting convalescent plasma.
Who is eligible to donate?
- In addition to the eligibility criteria for COVID-19 plasma, there are standard requirements that must be met for all blood donors (e.g. feeling well and healthy, age, weight, etc.). Your local blood collection site will ensure you meet all necessary criteria before donating.
- Plasma products have also been linked to a rare but serious complication for patients called transfusion-related acute lung injury, or TRALI. In order to lower the patient’s risk for TRALI, plasma for transfusion is usually collected from a person who has never been pregnant. Donations from women who have been pregnant undergo additional testing for HLA antibodies to prevent TRALI.
If I meet the criteria for donating COVID-19 convalescent plasma, how often can I donate?
- It depends. Typically, plasma donations such as these are only permitted every 28 days. However, the medical director of your donation site may choose to allow more frequent donations. Some collection sites are permitting eligible donors to donate once every 7 days for a period of 28 days. Your local donation site will be able to provide you with more information.
My family member is being treated for COVID-19. Can I donate to help them if I am eligible?
- If you would like to donate COVID-19 convalescent plasma and meet the criteria, contact your local blood center to inquire about donating.
Is it safe to donate blood?
- Yes! AABB accredited blood donor centers follow AABB Standards and FDA’s regulations. These establishments follow strict rules and regulations to maintain the safety of all involved in the blood donation process. AABB-accredited blood centers and hospital blood banks voluntarily adhere to even higher quality and safety standards as part of their commitment to your safety.
Can I donate convalescent plasma or blood after being diagnosed with COVID-19?
- If you are interested in donating convalescent plasma, you should be symptom-free for at least 14 days. Contact your local blood center, as some blood centers will ask you to wait another two weeks.
- To donate blood, please wait 28 days after the resolution of your COVID-19 symptoms before donating.
My local blood center is not collecting COVID-19 convalescent plasma. How can I still donate?
- To locate another blood center near you, use the AABB donor center locator to search by zip code. (Note: the results will show blood centers in your region, but not all sites are currently able to collect convalescent plasma)
Information for Patients: FAQs
Is convalescent plasma transfusion safe?
- If you or someone you know is being treated for a moderate or severe case of COVID-19, your doctors may determine that convalescent plasma transfusion is an appropriate treatment option to consider. You should discuss this option with your doctor to understand if it is the best treatment option for you.
- Plasma transfusion is generally considered a low-risk procedure, but is not free of risk. Each donation undergoes extensive testing and processing for safety and quality as required by AABB and the FDA. Early research into the use of convalescent plasma for COVID-19 suggests that it may be a safe and effective therapy that reduces the length and severity of the COVID-19. AABB-accredited hospitals have chosen to meet voluntary quality and safety standards as part of their commitment to patient safety.